A MEAT thief has avoided prison after appearing in front of magistrates.

Andrew O’Connell, 35, of Penreherber, Newcastle Emlyn, stole £127.35 of meat from Lidl in Cross Hands on March 25.

He also attempted to repeat the theft at the town’s Aldi store that same day.

O’Connell admitted a charge of theft from a shop, as well as a charge of attempted theft from a shop.

He was handed a 26-week sentence for the theft, suspended for 18 months, and was ordered to pay back the cost of the stolen meat in compensation.

He received four weeks, running concurrently, for the attempted theft, and had to pay £2.43 in compensation.

O’Connell must complete 150 hours of unpaid work, up to 25 days of rehabilitation activity requirement, and was made the subject of a nine-month drug rehabilitation order.